I think too many treat Pilates as an exercise on its own and do not integrate Pilates into what they were doing. Hence the benefits they see are always limited and treat it like any other exercise routines. What many do not realise is, Pilates does not just teach you how to copy an exercise, have a good workout and be done with it. In my opinion, Pilates is a concept that teaches you how to move better and makes sure you do move better (be it simple or complex movements), so that it improves your quality of life and in doing so give you freedom and fulfillment. You can have all the money and things you view as important in your life, but without a healthy body that moves well, you will not be able to enjoy them.
One of the biggest satisfaction that I personally have is that many of my students who took up Pilates, has integrated Pilates into their exercise routines also known as Cross Training. The results they have gotten were amazing and helped them improve what they were doing. This includes golfers, tennis players, dancers, yoga practitioners and others. I want more people to benefit in the ways these students of mine have and so I thought it is important you read this article about cross training. There is this saying “The bigger the WHY, the easier the HOW” and I firmly believe in it. If you know why you want to do Pilates, it will be much easier to know how to do it!
If you do Pilates and add other forms of exercise into your weekly routine, you are cross training. There are some good reasons to do this. Here are a few:
• Pilates exercises are oriented toward functional fitness, meaning that Pilates teaches you to move better in general, thereby enhancing performance and reducing risk of injury in other activities.
• Cross training that combines strength training with cardio is said to be the best way to get in tip top shape and is recommended by the American Council on Exercise.
• Cross training adds sustaining variety to a workout routine.
In the simplest of equations, Pilates is the moderate strength training aspect a cross training program. Pilates has so many more benefits, I hesitate to leave it at that. But for now, let’s look at Pilates as strength training and how that supports increased flexibility. Strength and flexibility are of special interest for cross trainers.
The Pilates Method is founded on core strength. Pilates mat and equipment exercises strengthen not just the outer muscles of the center of the body but also the deep inner stabilizing muscles of the pelvis, abdomen, and back — the core muscles. Core strength supports the back and neck, giving us healthy posture and freeing the joints to allow a natural flexibility of the limbs. This kind of strength and flexibility training translate well into all kinds cross training activities.
Pilates mat work is is a full-body workout and wonderful for developing core strength. However, if you are going to depend on Pilates exclusively for your strength training, you will probably want to add the resistance exercises done with large and small Pilates equipment. That will expand your options for developing strength in the limbs as well as the core.
Many people value the long, lean-look muscles that come from Pilates and are satisfied with the level of integrative, moderate strength training that Pilates provides. Pilates resistance training is enough to give you functional power, help build bone, and burn more calories because muscle is a calorie burner. If you want even more strength and muscle, you might consider mixing in more traditional weight training. Pilates will help you do weight training with better alignment, greater range of motion, and integrative focus.
Pilates cross trains well with anything. Pilates and yoga are a popular combination. But because of the extra health benefits of cardio training such as strengthening heart and lungs, stress reduction, and increased energy levels, you might want to think about cross training Pilates with some of the top cardio exercises like walking and running. Interval training is also becoming a popular cardio option. This would be especially true if you are interested in weight loss. Strength training combined with cardio and good dietary choices is the best formula for weight loss — though Pilates helps weight loss with or without cardio.